Pastors should be purposeful in leading their churches. A pastor who resigns himself to simply show up at the regular meeting times, and teach a nice Bible study or preach a sermon is not honoring his calling. We are called to lead the churches to make disciples who make disciples. Healthy churches do that through evangelism, discipleship, worship, etc. In order to keep the church on mission, it is important to evaluate your church’s health regularly.
John Finkelde recently posted an article here about five metrics he suggests churches should measure regularly to stay on course. Read the article for his explanation, but the five items are:
- Baptisms as a ratio of worship attendance
- Average age of the congregation compared to the average age of the community
- Percentage of adults serving
- Visitor flow
- Secondary giving
I agree with most of what he says regarding the metrics. If the church is baptizing roughly 10% of it’s average worship attendance, it is more likely to be a healthy church. Baptisms reflect the presence of evangelism and discipleship. I agree the average age of the congregation should be mirror the community. I would also add that the racial/ethnic and economic composition of the church and community should be similar as well. This indicates the church is making an impact in the community.
The percentage of adults serving indicates discipleship and equipping effectiveness in the church. I would probably tweak this metric to measure the percentage of baptized believers who are serving. If we believe that the Holy Spirit empowers all believers to engage in ministry, then we must believe that baptized children and youth must be engaged in ministry.
Visitor flow refers to keeping track of the number of visitors in the church. It is extremely important to show hospitality to those guests who visit the church. Smaller churches tend to have a more intimate setting, and they must make guests feel like they are part of the family.
Secondary giving deals with giving beyond the regular offering. This could be missions giving (Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, etc.), capital campaigns, or any number of designated offerings. I would adjust this to examine the percentage given to mission and ministry through the budget as well as through designated gifts. It will reflect the institutional attitude of missional giving as well as the personal attitudes.
I would also recommend the pastor and each staff minister keep a personal assessment dashboard. Here are some metrics I would recommend for your personal ministry dashboard:
- Keep up with the quality and frequency of your personal spiritual disciplines.
- Spend quality time with your spouse.
- Invest in time with your family.
- Regularly meet with a small group.
- Assess your personal health and fitness.
- Assess your emotional health.
- Rate the quality of your sabbath.
- How productive are you being?
- How effectively are you managing your time?
Regular assessment keeps us focused on the mission. How do you measure your church’s health? Would you add or change anything for the personal ministry dashboard?